Cisco offers two routes to earn your CCNP. You can take composite exam which covers routing and switching or take the standalone BSCI & BCMSN exams. Which one is easier to take? Well its simple, the composite exam gives you 2 hours to complete 60 questions vs. the standalone exams are 90 minutes and 60 questions each… The composite is about an even split 30 routing & 30 switching questions which once you pass you are 50% the way for your CCNP certification! The single exam approach has about the same passing score necessary as the multiple exam approach. The downside is the amount of information you are responsible to recall for the composite exam. The plus side is the watering down of the BSCI material since they must ask a certain amount of switching questions.
In my experience the BSCI is an unruly exam because of the depth and breadth of the material. While the BCMSN exam is rather easy due to the lack of complexity of layer 2 switching. By combining the two in one sitting you raise your chances of success quite a bit by watering down the difficulty of the exam by sprinkling in switching questions. My vote is the composite!
Of course you still need to pass ONT and ISCW for your CCNP certification.
So I have been tooling around with a piece of software called dynamips/dynagen for a couple of years now. It is a two piece open source software package that emulates a Cisco routers motherboard. You can fire up a Cisco routers IOS and have full use of all the services and commands. I see the future of Cisco training going down this virtualization path. You can setup multiple routers with serial and Ethernet connections in between. Basically a full stack of equipment, I am currently using it to study up for my Cisco CCIE R&S lab. Yes it is that functional! For Cisco CCNA training it will be tremendously useful, for the Cisco CCENT perhaps not so much because Cisco CCENT certification is more along the lines of theory where as CCNA and the CCNP are more practical/hands on in nature.
We just started teaching the new Cisco CallManager CCVP Training classes back in April, and I must say: they are quite awesome. I think they do a pretty fantastic job in preparing you for Cisco CCVP or CCIE Training classes (even though Cisco CCIE uses CallManager4, the concepts taught in the classes are great prep for the CCIE track).
Expect to come to the Cisco CIPT 1 v6 class and have a nice introduction to the CallManager world.
Then sit through the Cisco CIPT2 v6 class, and hit the road running. You get to do a monster lab on the first day. Basically, you configure up a complete dial plan with Search Spaces and Partitions and Gateways at different sites. It really ties together the concepts taught in the CIPT1 v6 class, and then builds on them from there. Good job Cisco!!!
I’m getting a lot of emails and calls lately with people asking about the old CallManager 5 exams and whether they are still valid.
So to prevent all of you from calling or emailing me, let me clarify: Cisco has not wiped out all the old exams just yet. They will remain valid until the last week of July.
Consequentially, that means it’s still not too late to get take the CallManager Version 4, 5, or 6 exams by attending a CCVP Training course like the ones offered at Unitek.
However, don’t forget though that to gain the CCVP Cisco Certification you must first have CCNA. Attendance of CCENT Training or CCNA Training is highly recommended as even if you pass the exams leading to CCVP Cisco Certification, you will not be accredited with the CCVP until you have also gained the CCNA Cisco Certification.
So keep those in mind, and take advantage of the next couple of weeks if you can.